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BELFAST, April 12, 2012 ( – A private member’s bill in Ireland proposes to overturn the Republic of Ireland’s constitutional protections for the unborn, and includes a provision penalizing pro-life sidewalk counseling with one year in prison.


The so-called Medical Treatment Bill, tabled by Socialist Party Teachta Dála (TD) Clare Daly, is the first ever private members’ bill backing abortion to be introduced in the Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament). It would legalize abortion up to birth in cases where the woman’s life is in danger, or if she is threatening suicide.

Pro-life advocates have pointed out that there is no evidence that abortion is necessary to protect women’s lives, and that life-saving treatment for pregnant women is already available.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that the Bill was based on a “fundamentally dishonest claim that abortion is needed to protect women’s lives. This claim amounts to the worst type of scaremongering, and polls show that it is rejected by the majority of Irish women.”

“The record shows we are safer without abortion,” she said, “so why are this group of politicians trying to introduce abortion in our name? It’s unacceptable to misrepresent Irish women – and the truth about abortion – in this way.”

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Bernadette Smyth, the head of Precious Life, the group that has fought the UK government’s attempts to impose abortion by stealth in Northern Ireland, has called on all Irish people, north and south, who want to keep abortion out of the islands, to oppose the bill.

Smyth and other Precious Life members, as well as the Irish groups Youth Defence and the Life Institute, joined hundreds in a demonstration today in Dublin demanding the defeat of the Medical Treatment Bill.

“Clare Daly is attempting to hoodwink the public that her Bill isn’t actually about legalising abortion,” Smyth said.

She warned that the bill is “even worse” than the 1967 Abortion Act that ushered in the current abortion regime in the UK.

Its provisions, Symth says, would even allow doctors to perform an abortion without the woman’s consent and allow abortions on underage girls without their parents’ or guardian’s consent. It would also force doctors to refer women to abortionists.

It attacks democratic freedoms as well, she says, in targeting pro-life groups or individuals who want to talk in public to abortion-minded women. The bill would make it an offense to talk to a woman going for an abortion with the intention of changing her mind, imposing prison terms of up to a year and fines of up to £2000.

Rebecca Roughneen of Youth Defence, said the demonstration was an effort to bring before the parliamentarians the fact that the majority of Irish women were sick and tired of being misrepresented by small groupings of pro-abortion campaigners.

Youth Defence has launched a campaign against claims by the abortion industry lobby that because of the current law, women are being refused “life saving medical treatment.” Women in Ireland, she said, are never denied genuine medical treatment during pregnancy, even in those cases where it might have the unintended secondary effect of causing the death of the child, however rare those cases may be.